Newsletter January 2017

In this issue:
Quick Links

 WODL website   WODL on Facebook   WODL board

2017 Adjudications schedule

Festival 2017 website  Book Festival tickets  Book Festival Hotel

Adjudications Schedule for Festival 2016/2017

For the latest adjudications schedule  click here.
Festival 2017 Website

For everything that you want to know about Festival 2017 including booking tickets and hotel rooms see the Festival website.

And They're Off !!! - Comments on the 2017 in-Festival plays

By Dennis Johnson, Festival 2017 Co-chair, dennis@wodl.on.ca
The 2017 WODL steeplechase has begun. All competitors have left the paddock. Every horse is Canadian-bred in this anniversary year. The stakes are high. The purse is small but impressive - a chance to perform at the Sesquicentennial Theatre Ontario Festival in Ottawa in May 2017. Governor General David Johnston is Patron of the host O,ttawa Little Theatre.
Actually, the opening WODL post time was November 5 in Tillsonburg, with an odds-on favourite - David Belke's Ten Times Two. Next up is Norm Foster's Jenny's House of Joy in London January 15. Eventually, the five finalists will be announced at 1:00 pm on February 19 at the WODL General Meeting to be held at the Guelph Little Theatre.
There are eleven contenders in-Festival this year and you can view summaries and art work for all of them on The Contenders page on the Festival Website:
And say a prayer for good weather for adjudicator Lindsay Price as she travels throughout Western Ontario, through rain and sleet and snow and dead of night. And HAPPY NEW YEAR to all contenders, in-Festival and out-of-Festival in 2017.
Click here to see all the in-Festival and out-of-Festival entrants in January and February.
Those Were the Days my Friend - Guelph Little Theatre and the WODL Festival

By Dennis Johnson, Festival 2017 Co-chair, dennis@wodl.on.ca
2017 will be the seventh time that Guelph Little Theatre has hosted the WODL Festival since Centennial Year. The old Salvation Army Citadel on the corner of Dublin and Paisley Streets - GLT's home for 30 years - was host to the Festival in 1975, 1978, 1984 and 1990. In 1981, we also hosted the Theatre Ontario Festival. With a festival here every 3 years, it was an unparalleled time.
After a disastrous fire in 1993 and relocation to our current home on Morris Street in 1997, Guelph Little Theatre has stepped up to the plate 3 more times to host the WODL Festival - 1998, 2013 (the eightieth birthday of WODL) and 2017 (the Sesquicentennial Year of Canada). This years Festival will also celebrate our twentieth anniversary year in the new building.
In the midst of all this celebration, GLT has found time to win the WODL Best Production Award 9 times since Centennial year. Four of those productions went on to win the ELSIE award for Outstanding Production at Theatre Ontario Festivals. No other Community Theatre in Ontario has won the ELSIE more often (although Peterborough Theatre Guild is tied with 4 wins).
This could be a year of change! Three WODL theatre groups have won the ELSIE three times - Burlington, Owen Sound and Woodstock. Could there be a tie-breaker in the works? Mark these dates on your calendar NOW. On  February 19 Lindsay Price announces her choices for the Festival 2017 line-up. And March 13 to 18 are the Festival dates at the Guelph Little Theatre and the Holiday Inn Guelph.
Meet the in-Festival Adjudicator - Bea Quarrie

Bea Quarrie is a dedicated theatre director whose shows have represented Canada at International Festivals in Japan, Germany, Aruba and Venezuela as well as in Canada. She has also served on regional, provincial and national committees, arts councils, theatre companies and theatre service organizations.

She has adjudicated throughout Ontario for over 37 years, co-founded five professional theatre companies in Peterborough, taught and directed in China, produced, performed and designed over 100 productions and is the subject of two films.

When she is not directing in educational, professional or community theatres, Bea continues to review plays in Peterborough and area. She also continues to encourage writers by providing a play reading series with VOS Theatre in Cobourg.

Peterborough Theatre Guild plays such as Hedda Gabler, House, PS Uncle Angus, Essay and Vimy, as well as Cobourg's VOS Theatre productions of Spamalot, Shrek, and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang have kept her busy in the last four years.

During the past five years she has adjudicated Sears Festivals, WODL, EODL and Theatre Ontario finals. She last adjudicated in Guelph at the Western Ontario Drama League Theatre Festival of 2013.

Excerpt from Bea's keynote at the WODL Festival 2013: Why do we do community theatre?

We sacrifice time and money, bribe significant others to join us, celebrate in the successes of our efforts and bemoan missed opportunities. We commune together in the secular church of our community performance spaces because we love this ephemeral art called live theatre. We continually aspire to create meaningful experiences for participants on both sides of the stage, often overcoming huge challenges.

As an adjudicator in community festivals, I often ask participants about the characters in their plays-why should we like them, what makes them "real"?  I am really asking the questions that are fundamental to the meaning of each play. It is the driving force behind the action, the aspirations that are central to that meaning contained in the objectives of the play's characters. After all, theatre is about aspirations--it is about longing and the desire for answers. Small theatre concerns itself with small questions, and great theatre with the great Universals.

We work in a community, and the communal ideal of excellence is contagious. When we can see theatre that responds to our need to love rather than to our need to have an experience that does not call for changes of any kind, internal or external, once actors/directors/designers are not so fearful of censure or misunderstanding that the bums-in-seats mentality dictates, then there is hope that the tide of our introverted, unhappy time will turn and that we will once again be prepared to look at ourselves truthfully.

Joy comes from feeling the power rather than fear when faced with the necessity of choice, to seek out and enjoy, to feel the life-giving pleasure of the power of artistic choice no matter what onstage or backstage role we take on, whether it is a splendidly silly comedy or farce, or a deeply moving tragedy.

For all this we must have courage. I know it exists in community theatres around the province because I have witnessed it personally. I want to thank participants for returning community to community theatre. Thanks for trusting that the gift of performance will be gratefully received no matter how complex the material.

If theatre is the coming together of all the arts, I thank all live theatre practitioners for returning all those arts to life.
News from Around the WODL Region
By Janice Lundy, WODL Area VP Oxford Region, janice@wodl.on.ca
Things are  starting to gear up for the winter adjudication season, with many excellent offerings across the region in January and early February!

The winter season starts with  London Community Players' production of Jenny's House of Joy from January 12-22, and then their show  Old Love at Procunier Hall from  January 26 - February  4.  Cambridge Community Players 's  Albertine in Five Times  and  Guelph Little Theatre's  The Perfect Murder  open January 27 and run to February 11. 
Moving into February, Aylmer Community Theatre's On a First-Name Basis and  Owen Sound Little Theatre 's  Having Hope at Home  both run from February 2-11.  The Player's Guild of Hamilton's It's Only a Play,  Theatre Burlington's Papers, and  Elmira Theatre Company's Outlaw  are onstage from February  3-18.

Stay tuned! There will be many more shows later in February to tell you about in the next newsletter!
Places Please! Stage Management and the Creative Process - Theatre Ontario Workshop - March 25 & 26
By Brandon Moore, Community Theatre and Communications Manager at Theatre Ontario, brandon@theatreontario.org
Saturday & Sunday March 25 and 26, 2017
10:00 pm to 5:00 pm
Domino Theatre, 52 Church St, Kingston, Ontario

In this workshop we will examine the Stage Management process from the pre-production period through to the end of show responsibilities. An overview of specific stage management fundamentals such as creating paperwork, building a prompt book, and taking blocking notation will be provided.
  • What is the Stage Manager's role in managing the rehearsal, technical rehearsal and performance process and how is it defined in the creative process?
  • What are some of the challenges that a Stage Manager encounters within their unique role?
  • How do they co-ordinate all aspects of a theatrical production to ensure the successful delivery of a performance while balancing the needs of both the creative and technical personnel?
  • What skills can the Stage Manager use to ensure that they maintain the artistic intention of a play?
We will explore how a Stage Manager collaborates and communicates with a variety of artists to ensure that everyone on the production has access to the most up to date information. Everyone recognizes the value of having a good Stage Manager.

Workshop participants will come away with a deeper understanding of the art of Stage Management and what their role is as a creative participant in the world of theatre.
Meet the Instructor: Maria Popoff
Maria works as one of the Stage Management mentors at The National Theatre School of Canada.

Maria's Selected Stage Management Credits Include: Helen Lawrence; Ain't Misbehavin; Urinetown; Good Night Desdemona, (Good Morning Juliet); The Queens; Richard III; Edward IV; Henry V; Divided We Stand; Unless; (Canadian Stage Company.) Benevolence; (Tarragon Theatre.) 10 Days On Earth, National and International Tour (Australia, New Zealand, England, and Austria); Ronnie Burkett Theatre of Marionettes). Hamlet; Comedy of Errors; Long Day's Journey Into Night; (Stratford Festival). World premiere production and national tour of Good Night Desdemona, (Good Morning Juliet); (Nightwood Theatre.) Selected Production Stage Manager credits: David Suzuki's Legacy Lecture: World of Possibilities: Royal Ontario Museum's Opening Celebration Ceremonies for the Michael Lee-Chin Crystal.

Maria has produced two award winning short films: Interviews With My Next Girlfriend (HBO Award for Best Short Comedy): Don't Think Twice (Sundance Film Festival, Toronto International Film Festival). 

For more information, cost, and to register click here.
Tickets and Accommodation for Theatre Ontario Festival 2017 Now Available

By Brandon Moore, Community Theatre and Communications Manager at Theatre Ontario,brandon@theatreontario.org
Tickets and accommodations are now available for Theatre Ontario Festival 2017 in Ottawa. Opening May 17, and running until May 21, our annual Festival is a celebration of community theatre featuring performances and workshops, and bringing together theatre lovers from across the province. Early-bird passes at a discounted rate are available until January 31.
Click here to book tickets and to get more information on the Festival. 
Five Canadian Plays Recommended by Playwrights

By Kristen Da Silva, Oakville, ON, from the Playwrights Guild of Canada
Kristen Da Silva was born in Oakville and raised in the small farming community of Nobleton, Ontario. She attended York University, graduating with an Honours degree in Political Science that she has never done anything with. 

She has a background in improv and sketch comedy development and performance as a founding member of the Vanier Improv Company and sketch groups Rocket-9 and Gazebo Pals. 

Her small town roots show up in most of her plays, which include Book Club, Five Alarm, Gibson & Sons (short listed for the 2016 Stage West Pechet Family Comedy Award), Jack's Lake, Sugar Road and The Sunny Side. She currenty lives in Oakville, Ontario and works as a playwright and actor.
When I was asked to recommend a list of Canadian plays, I thought about aiming for a unifying theme but the plays I kept coming back to were simply those that move me. So, here's a list of plays that make me want to keep writing, plays I want to act in, plays you should read.

Mending Fences by Norm Foster 

Synopsis: Harry Sullivan hasn't seen his son Drew in thirteen years.  And now Drew is coming to Harry's Saskatchewan ranch for a visit.  This poignant comedy tells the story of two men who are too stubborn to give in to feelings of the heart.
To inquire about the rights to the play,  please contact Pam Winter at Gary Goddard Agency:
The Last Real Summer by Warren Graves

Synopsis: In this memory play, the older Lizzie reflects on her youth and the choices which led her to her current unrest.
To inquire about the rights to the play,  please contact Playwrights Guild of Canada:
Vinci by Maureen Hunter 

Synopsis: Set in an Italian village in the 15th century, Vinci revolves around the struggle for custody of a gifted child, a "golden boy," Leonardo da Vinci. Padre Bartolomeo, a friend of the da Vinci family, finds himself caught between the powerful da Vincis and Leonardo's defiant unwed mother, Caterina. In his efforts to mediate the dispute and determine the future of Caterina's exceptional child, Bartolomeo comes to a new understanding of the nature of forgiveness and love.
To inquire about the rights to the play,  please contact Charles Northcote at Core Literary:
Half Life by John Mighton

Synopsis: Two nursing home residents, both in their eighties, meet and fall in love, rekindling what might have been a wartime romance.
To inquire about the rights to the play,  please contact Rena Zimmerman at Great North Artists Management Inc.:
Armstrong's War by Colleen Murphy

Synopsis: After suffering an injury during a military tour in Afghanistan, Michael, a young soldier, is recovering in the rehabilitation wing of a hospital. The last thing he wants is to spend time with a twelve-year-old girl, but Halley, a spirited Pathfinder and self-described "reading fiend," is eager to earn her community service badge. The pair is at odds from the start, but they find a shared interest in The Red Badge of Courage, the classic American Civil War novel, which spurs them to reveal their own stories. As their friendship grows, uncomfortable truths are exposed and questioned, redefining the meaning of courage and heroism.
To inquire about the rights to the play,  please contact Michael Petrasek at Kensington Literary Agency:
If you are Producing Canadian Plays this Season - Check This Out

The Playwrights Guild of Canada publicises productions of Canadian-written plays through its website, www.playwrightsguild.ca.

If you want a play included on the Canadian Play Map of Canada, click here to obtain an application form.

PGC also publishes a list of theatre companies that have an all-Canadian season. Click here to obtain a nomination form for this list.
Canadian Play Map of Canada

Each month the Playwrights Guild of Canada publishes a map showing which Canadian plays are being produced and where. To see the map for January  click here.
ONstage Theatre Listings

Theatre Ontario publishes an online list of current and upcoming productions by its member groups. To see what is on  click here.
Is your WODL Membership Information Up-to-date?

Are you on the board of a theatre group that belongs to WODL? If your group has:
  • A new President
  • New WODL delegates
  • A new Treasurer
Please let our membership chair, Sue Perkins, know at  membership@wodl.on.ca
Dates for your Diary

19 February 2017
GM, Guelph. Finalists and out-of-Festival awards announced

13 to 18 March 2017 WODL Festival 2017, Guelph

17 to 21 May 2017 Theatre Ontario Festival 2017, Ottawa
23 July 2017 AGM, place to be decided
12 to 17 March 2018 WODL Festival 2018, Sarnia
16  to 20 May 2018 Theatre Ontario Festival 2018, London
This newsletter was prepared by:  

Tricia Ward
Communications Coordinator

Western Ontario Drama League | communications@wodl.on.ca | http://www.wodl.on.ca